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"Is something that will disappear the same as something that never existed?"
Honey and Clover depicts the lives of the students of an art college in Tokyo. It centers mostly around three young men, Yuta, Takumi and Shinobu, who live in a run-down apartment complex and who have become very close friends.
One day one of the art professors introduces Hagumi (Hagu), his cousin's extremely talented daughter from the countryside. Hagumi looks very young for her age and is shy toward strangers, which doesn't prevent Yuta and Shinobu from falling in love with her immediately. Both boys are awkward in their ways of showing their affections though, which leads to a very delicate Love Triangle.
Takumi also finds himself in love, this time with an older woman, while another student, Ayumi, in turn is in love with him. This love triangle actually gets the most attention at first, emphasizing the hopelessness of both people's unreciprocated feelings and leading to much of the drama during the first series.
Honey and Clover started out as a Josei manga series, serialized in various magazines from 2000 till its ending in 2006. It has been adapted into two anime series. A live action movie adaptation has been released in 2006 and two TV dramas (in Japan and then Taiwan) started airing in 2008. Yes, it's that popular.
- Adult Child: Hagu, who is 18 but acts about half her age--just the way she looks.
- Air Voyance: A platonic version involving Takemoto swearing at Morita's plane.
- All Love Is Unrequited: Taken to the extreme, except in one case.
- Amusing Injuries
- Art Shift: It happens on occasion, usually when looking at one of Hagu's works or in one DVD-only episode, where the art style (and scenery) shifts to something out of a Shoujo manga. It's even pointed out in show with the following line: "You've turned into a shoujo manga character!"
- Bittersweet Ending: Life goes on, but Yuta has to say goodbye to the object of his unrequited love, Hagu, and is left with bittersweet memories of his college days.
- Blank White Eyes: Happens a lot to Hagu. Not surprisingly, considering the idiocy she gets confronted with.
- Blue with Shock: Often appears with the Blank White Eyes whenever Morita does something. Or when Ayu cooks.
- Boring Return Journey: Takemoto's trip back from Hokkaido.
- Broke Episode: One of the DVD-only episodes, Chapter L, was one of these taken to extremes, flashing back to a period when everyone in the apartment was desperate for meat.
- Broken Bird: Rika Harada is one, physically as well as emotionally.
- Camp Gay: The Fujiwara Brothers (Mario and Luigi) who head Fujiwara Design Bureau.
- Cannot Spit It Out
- Cherry Blossoms: The traditional 'cherry blossom viewing party' is a Running Gag in the series' first season, especially with Morita using it as a means of earning money.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Shinobu Morita, although also Hagu arguably qualifies.
- Country Mouse: Hagumi.
- Cutesy Dwarf: Hagumi.
- Food Porn: When the food isn't cooked by Yamada or Hagu, that is.
- Four-Leaf Clover: A recurring theme throughout the series, culminating in the heart-wrenching ending.
- Generation Xerox: The subtle Shuuji/Rika/Harada love triangle greatly resembles the Takemoto/Hagu/Morita love triangle. Their personalities are similar, and (technically) both Harada and Morita get their respective girls, except Morita doesn't get to keep Hagu, in spite of their feelings for each other.
- Genius Ditz: While being a Cloudcuckoolander as stated above, Morita is also pretty much The Ace when it comes to anything involving art- to the point of winning an Academy Award at the end.
- Growing Up Sucks
- Hair of Gold: Hagu.
- Hime Cut: Yamada.
- I Got a Rock: Shūji comes back to the art school early and gives the girls expensive gifts, while giving the boys "a stamp, a postcard, and a rock."
- Informed Ability: Hagu's art as depicted in the series is fine, but for someone who is supposedly extremely talented it isn't anything special.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy.
- Left Hanging: The show ends without answering whether Hagu's hand will be fine or what actually happens with the other relationships.
- That can be seen as an example of Reality Is Unrealistic.
- Legal Jailbait: Hagu.
- Lethal Chef: Yamada, Hagu
- Live Action Adaptation
- Love Hurts: In several varieties.
- Love Triangle: Two of 'em. Three if you count a possible one in the backstory.
- Medium Blending: The first intro.
- Megane: Mayama.
- Mood Whiplash
- Motifs: The Wheel (Ferris Wheel, Bicycle Wheel) is often used as a metaphor for love and relationships in the first season.
- Perpetual Poverty: This is college/art school, and the first time in the lives of the characters that they're living out on their own. Used for gags in the early part of the manga, before the main story finds its feet.
- The Promise: Morita and Hagu promise each other that they will make great art to show each other in the future, and Hagu promises that she'll always be watching over him.
- Race For Your Love: More like "Race For Your Rival." See Air Voyance.
- Recap Episode: The second season's first episode is basically a retelling of the events in the first season.
- Scenery Porn: The anime is just full of soft colors and prettiness.
- Slice of Life
- Smoking Is Cool: Hanamoto-sensei and Mayama seem to perpetuate this stereotype, or try to.
- Sparkling Stream of Tears
- Starving Student: Most of the cast
- The Other Darrin: Takamoto's original voice actor, Kamiya Hiroshi, was hospitalized and replaced by Nojima Kenji for episode 12 of the second season. Kamiya rerecorded the episode for the DVD version.
- Thunder Shock: Used for humor, such as when Mayama and Takemoto first sampled some of the Lethal Chef cooking in Episode 7 of the first season.
- Title Drop: Not literally, but the honey and clover sandwiches Hagu gives to Takemoto count.
- Train Station Goodbye
- Weird Moon: With moving pictures on its surface.
- Wife Husbandry: An interpretation of Hagu and Shuu, as Hagu chooses Shuu over Morita (who she is in love with) because she feels Shuu can take care of her better (after she gets into an accident where she may not be able to paint again).